Construction begins on new flats for Nottingham’s homeless after inflation risked project collapse

Rough sleepers and homeless to be supported with new purpose-build accommodation in £1.4m charity project
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A new housing project designed to support Nottingham’s most vulnerable is now officially under construction.

The block of eight flats will be built on the corner of Gregory Boulevard and Birkin Avenue in Hyson Green to provide permanent homes for rough sleepers alongside support services.

Andrew Redfern, chief executive of Framework, the charity behind the development, said: “Homelessness is increasing across the country and in Nottingham because the systems of support that used to be available to prevent people from becoming homeless have been gradually dismantled.

“We need more suitable, self-contained and high-quality homes and support [for] people living in them to support the issues that led to them becoming homeless in the first place, and that’s what this project will do.”

A ground-breaking ceremony for the development was held on June 9.A ground-breaking ceremony for the development was held on June 9.
A ground-breaking ceremony for the development was held on June 9.

The £1.4m development will help those living in the accommodation to develop life skills to live independently and offer drug, alcohol and mental health support.

Framework has provided £750,000 towards the building costs, with Homes England contributing a similar amount, however, Mr Redfern said the project was in danger of not going ahead due to soaring inflation and the price of construction supplies.

It was given the green light after fundraising efforts of Nottingham-based DHP Family - owners of Rock City, Stealth and Rescue Rooms - who donated £89,500.

George Akins, managing director at DHP Family, said: “It’s great that we’re able to do something to support people in this situation in Nottingham.”

Since 2018, DHP Family’s annual one-day Beat the Streets music festival has raised more than £400,000 to support rough sleepers and Framework.

Mr Akins added: “When we first did this, the rough sleeping numbers were much higher. We saw a situation up until last year when [levels] came down to much fewer people sleeping rough.

“But it’s increasing significantly again this year, and clearly this will be an ongoing problem and when cuts come, it’s probably the first service to be cut.”

Akins House will help support vulnerable rough sleepers across Nottingham.Akins House will help support vulnerable rough sleepers across Nottingham.
Akins House will help support vulnerable rough sleepers across Nottingham.

The new flats, which are set to be completed by March 2024, will be named Akins House to recognise the efforts of George and his brother Sean.

Research from homelessness charity Shelter estimates that more than 1,600 people were recorded as homeless on any given night in 2022, the highest rate in the East Midlands.

Former rough sleeper Danny Duvall has been supported by Framework since 2019 and said their services are important because “there are a lot of people out there who do need help.”

He added: “If it wasn’t for these services they wouldn’t have help and I’m thankful for the people that have been there for me.”

Mr Duvall said there is a lot of support available to those who need it in Nottingham, however, he added, it is often not knowing services exist and access to them that is prohibitive.

“It’s not been easy all the way, but it’s getting there now and I see a light at the end of the road,” he said.

“You don’t get anywhere in life living in a doorway.”